Follow by Email

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Bouchon: Fantastic Bread, Superb Pork Belly, Soso Everything Else

Thomas Keller's Bouchon surely opened to sky-high expectations, given his stature and the hype surrounding his other restaurants, the famed French Laundry in Yountville and Per Se in New York City.

I haven't been to any other two and our server at Bouchon reminded us more than once that one should not expect to be blown away by a meal at Bouchon. After all, he said, Bouchon is a bistro and in short, is no French Laundry or Per Se. This was a place chefs from these haute cuisine joints would go eat after their shifts ended.

I'll say this. I was blown away by the bread. It was just the kind of baguette that one craves when you're wanting to just munch on cheese, salami, or just really good butter. The crust was perfectly crunchy without being too hard. The inside was soft and basically, I couldn't stop eating the bread although I usually try to save room for the starter and main dishes.

This one was an Epi Baguette, shaped like a wheat stalk. The good news and the most ecstatic moment of the evening for me was when our server told us that this goldmine of a bread will now be available for purchase at the Bouchon Bakery that will open in a few months at the bottom floor of the premises. Hopefully the bakery will have not just baguettes but eclaires, chocolate croissants and apple turnovers, which are my favorites.

Anyway, let's focus on the food that is available for now. The best dish was the braised pork belly on a bed of mixed beans (first photo). The menu described this as "glazed pork belly with a cassoulet of pole beans & mustard scented pork jus." There were chick peas, black eyed peas and canellini beans. The pork belly was soft and juicy and paired perfectly with the jus reduced to its deep-flavored essence with just the right saltiness.

Since we were at a bistro, we had to have the closest thing to the classic steak frites -- a perfectly seared bloody steak with the best fries. This one was a flatiron steak, which our server explained was a much derided shoulder area of the cow but that this restaurant cuts it differently so as to impart flavor, etc. Well, the steak didn't walk the walk, so to speak. It was good enough, but didn't have too much flavor, a-la Jar's excellent rib-eye steak. Sure, I'm guessing rib-eye may have more marbling and hence more flavor and juiciness, but in any case, not blown away. I later re-seared the leftovers over a bed of arugula and after seasoning the meat a bit, it tasted a lot better. Not much complaints about the fries. They were hot, crispy and delicious. Very generous portions too.

Perhaps the most disappointing dishes of the meal were the starters. We had, as part of the Dinela menu, ham hock terrine with pickled vegetables and good bread, as well as the mixed greens with red wine vinaigrette and warm goat cheese.

The terrine smelled too porky for me and this from someone who absolutely adores pork. I wasn't impressed with the quality of ingredients. The bread was good but I had to repurpose the terrine as a hash where I added scrambled egg, home fries, some shredded cheese and some red pepper paste. It made for a great brunch.

Oh, it also came with some garlicky canellini beans paste to spread on the bread (also complimentary for the table with the lovely previously mentioned baguette) but I wasn't into this at all.

I was also disappointed at the butter served with the baguette of my dreams. It tasted fine but really, real yummy French butter should be saltier and yellower. Call me crazy.

Desserts were nothing to write home about. The Pot de creme was some ginger-infused custard served with gingersnap cookies. This number to the right is the namesake of the restaurant -- bouchons -- basically brownies with chocolate sauce and vanilla ice-cream. A bit on the sweet side. Just ok.

The vibe reminds me of places like Balthazar and other cool Keith McNally-owned places in New York City. Granted, he probably modeled his bistros after real bistros in Paris, as did Keller.

Our server urged us to return for regular prix fixe lunch menus (albeit not listed online) even on off Dinela periods. Maybe once the bakery opens so I can stock up on bread on my way out.


Anonymous said...

What's up mates, its enormous paragraph about educationand fully defined, keep it up all the time.

Feel free to visit my blog; Click here

Anonymous said...

Hey! I just wanted to ask if you ever have any problems with hackers?

My last blog (wordpress) was hacked and I ended up losing several weeks of hard work due to no back
up. Do you have any methods to prevent hackers?

Here is my webpage :: in Teen Nympho Gets Double Penetrated

Anonymous said...

I’m not that much of a online reader to be honest but your sites really nice, keep it
up! I'll go ahead and bookmark your website to come back in the future. Many thanks

Review my homepage Vintage Videos

Anonymous said...

I think that everything said was very logical. However, what about this?
what if you added a little content? I mean, I don't want to tell you how to run your blog, but suppose you added a title that grabbed people's attention?

I mean "Bouchon: Fantastic Bread, Superb Pork Belly, Soso Everything Else" is a little vanilla.
You might look at Yahoo's front page and note how they create article titles to grab people to click. You might try adding a video or a related picture or two to grab people excited about what you've written.
In my opinion, it would bring your posts a little livelier.

Also visit my homepage ... more

Anonymous said...

The other day, while I was at work, my cousin stole
my apple ipad and tested to see if it can survive a 30 foot drop,
just so she can be a youtube sensation. My iPad is now broken and
she has 83 views. I know this is entirely off topic
but I had to share it with someone!

Feel free to visit my page: visit website

Anonymous said...

Great post. I was checking continuously this
weblog and I'm impressed! Extremely helpful info particularly the last section :) I take care of such information a lot. I used to be looking for this particular information for a long time. Thanks and good luck.

Also visit my webpage ::

Anonymous said...

My brother recommended I might like this web site.

He was totally right. This post actually made my day.
You can not imagine simply how much time I had spent
for this information! Thanks!

Here is my web-site -

Anonymous said...

Its not my first time to visit this web page, i am visiting
this web site dailly and take fastidious information from here every day.

My weblog: honda s2000 auto parts

Anonymous said...

I all the time emailed this blog post page to all my associates, for
the reason that if like to read it afterward my links will too.

My site: anti snoring devices

Anonymous said...

This post provides clear idea designed for the new people of blogging,
that truly how to do blogging.

my page :: extreme weight loss

Anonymous said...

Good day! This is my first visit to your blog! We are a collection of volunteers and starting a new initiative in a community in the same niche.
Your blog provided us valuable information to work on.
You have done a outstanding job!

My weblog - weight loss

Anonymous said...

This post will assist the internet people for creating new blog or even a weblog
from start to end.

Here is my page ... the nudes

Anonymous said...

Hi there, for all time i used to check blog posts here in the
early hours in the morning, because i love to gain knowledge of more and more.

Visit my page: check This out

Anonymous said...

Wonderful article! This is the type of info that are supposed to be shared across the net.
Shame on the seek engines for now not positioning this submit higher!
Come on over and consult with my web site . Thank you =)

My homepage; please click the next document

Anonymous said...

I've been browsing on-line greater than three hours lately, but I by no means discovered any interesting article like yours. It's lovely price sufficient for me.
In my view, if all site owners and bloggers made just right content as you did, the internet will probably be a lot more
helpful than ever before.

My webpage; sex vids

Anonymous said...

I'm extremely inspired along with your writing abilities as well as with the layout in your weblog. Is that this a paid theme or did you customize it yourself? Anyway stay up the excellent high quality writing, it is rare to look a great weblog like this one nowadays..

Also visit my webpage - click here

Anonymous said...

This is a topic that is close to my heart... Take care! Where are your contact
details though?

my blog Going On this page

Anonymous said...

Every weekend i used to pay a visit this site, for the reason that i wish for enjoyment, since this this web site conations really pleasant
funny information too.

Here is my site ... The success inside young women is not only inside the simple fact that they are.

Anonymous said...

Hi! This is my 1st comment here so I just wanted to give a quick shout out and tell you I truly enjoy reading your posts.
Can you suggest any other blogs/websites/forums that cover the same subjects?
Appreciate it!

Feel free to visit my weblog ... he has a good point

Anonymous said...

It's awesome for me to have a web site, which is good for my know-how. thanks admin

My blog post ... visit website

Anonymous said...

I all the time emailed this web site post page to all my associates, because if like to
read it afterward my links will too.

Also visit my blog post ... barely legal teen gets naked and spreads -

Anonymous said...

electronic cigarette reviews, smokeless cigarettes, electronic cigarette, electronic cigarettes, electronic cigarettes, e cigarette forum